The Capability Maturity Model Integration explained – What is CMMI?

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a capability maturity model developed by the Software Engineering Institute, part of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, USA. The CMMI principal is that “the quality of a system or product is highly influenced by the process used to develop and maintain it”. CMMI can be used to guide process improvement across a project, a division, or an entire organization.

CMMI provides:

  • Guidelines for processes improvement
  • An integrated approach to process improvement
  • Embedding process improvements into a state of business as usual
  • A phased approach to introducing improvements
CMMI Models

CMMI consists of three overlapping disciplines (constellations) providing specific focus into the Development, Acquisition and Service Management domains respectively:

  • CMMI for Development (CMMI-DEV) – Product and service development
  • CMMI for Services (CMMI-SVC) – Service establishment, management, and delivery
  • CMMI for Acquisition (CMMI-ACQ) – Product and service acquisition

Originating in software engineering, CMMI has been highly generalised over the years to embrace other business processes such as the development of hardware products, service delivery and purchasing which has had the effect of abstracting CMMI.

CMMI Model Framework

Depending on the CMMI constellation (CMMI-DEV, CMMI-SVC & CMMI ACQ) used, the process areas it contains will vary. The table below lists the process areas that are present in all CMMI constellations. This collection of eight process areas is called the CMMI Model Framework, or CMF.

The Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI model) explained

CMMI Maturity Levels

There are five CMMI maturity levels. However, maturity level ratings are only awarded for levels 2 through 5.

CMMI Maturity Level 2 – Managed

  • CM – Configuration Management
  • MA – Measurement and Analysis
  • PMC – Project Monitoring and Control
  • PP – Project Planning
  • PPQA – Process and Product Quality Assurance
  • REQM – Requirements Management
  • SAM – Supplier Agreement Management

CMMI Maturity Level 3 – Defined

  • DAR – Decision Analysis and Resolution
  • IPM – Integrated Project Management +IPPD
  • OPD – Organizational Process Definition +IPPD
  • OPF – Organizational Process Focus
  • OT – Organizational Training
  • PI – Product Integration
  • RD – Requirements Development
  • RSKM – Risk Management
  • TS – Technical Solution
  • VAL – Validation
  • VER – Verification

CMMI Maturity Level 4 – Quantitatively Managed

  • QPM – Quantitative Project Management
  • OPP – Organizational Process Performance

CMMI Maturity Level 5 – Optimizing

  • CAR – Causal Analysis and Resolution
  • OID – Organizational Innovation and Deployment
CMMI Appraisals

Certification does not exist as a concept in CMMI, rather an organisation is appraised. and can be awarded a maturity level rating (1-5) or a capability level achievement profile.

Many organizations find value in measuring their progress by conducting an appraisal in order to:

  1. Determine how well the organization’s processes compare to CMMI best practices, and to identify areas where improvement can be made
  2. Inform external customers and suppliers of how well the organization’s processes compare to CMMI best practices
  3. Meet the contractual requirements of one or more customers

Appraisals must conform to the requirements defined in the Appraisal Requirements for CMMI (ARC) document. There are three classes of appraisals, A, B and C, focusing on identifying improvement opportunities and comparing processes to CMMI best practices. Appraisal teams use a CMMI model and ARC-conformant appraisal method to guide their evaluation of the organization and their reporting of conclusions. The Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI) is an appraisal method that meets all of the ARC requirements.

A class A appraisal is the only one that can result in a level rating.